— From the pages of FLL Issue #20
Pirates. High heels. Billiard balls. Thong bikinis.
No, I’m not talking about a cross-dressing musical, an MTV reality show, or even the latest extreme sport; these are elements of something far sweeter. The wonderfully talented Stephanie Samuel has replicated each of the above as a delicious dessert.
A quick perusal of Stephanie’s bake-blog was enough to convince me that she’s more than your average Martha Stewart disciple. Her attention to detail and professional presentation are apparent in the cakes, cupcakes, and other goodies on display. Custom orders ranged from cartoon-themed birthdays to the recent Candy Factory anniversary event, where she provided more than 200 delightful mini cupcakes. My taste buds decided unanimously that further research was in order.
I was thrilled to discover that Stephanie, a Lititz native and mother of three, is as sweet in person as her sugary confections look in the pictures. Not only did she bring six different flavors of cupcake minis, but she brought two of each! “In case you were married,” she said. The flavors included mint chocolate chip, guava with cream cheese, and my personal favorite, key lime pie. I’m enjoying a minty mojito mini as I write, and you should be jealous!
Moments into our conversation, Stephanie confesses that she has a problem. While many of us suffer from a sweet tooth, her affliction is more severe: She’s sugar whipped. But rather than allow her “condition” to dictate her life, she adopted it as her company name. Now, being Sugar Whipped has a whole new meaning!
Sugar Whipped Bakery may be a newcomer to the commercial scene, but Stephanie is no newbie in the kitchen. She’s been training for this her entire life. From baking raisin-filled sugar cookies as a child with her Gram (Gram was to baking what Mr. Miyagi was to karate) to checking out the competition from Miami to New York, Stephanie has done her homework. That guava and cream cheese cupcake? That was her “Ode to Miami,” an homage to pastelitos, a Cuban pastry she adores.
While attending the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), she learned something about the power of sweets: “If you bake it, they will come.” Everyone in her dorm seemed to share a sixth sense. If she put something in the oven, it guaranteed a number of unexpected drop-ins, to see how “Betty Crocker” was faring. Years later, her three children have developed the same knack, no matter how discreet she tries to be. Mommy’s Little Helpers have inherited her love of baking and Stephanie is overjoyed to include them.
Her husband, Mathew, has his own role to play. “He’s my cheering squad,” she says, but it doesn’t stop there. Besides being chief taste tester, he designed the Sugar Whipped logo and handles some aspects of the marketing. On one occasion he was even recruited for his artistic skills to paint Superman onto a birthday cake— best served with kryptonite forks.
Along the way Stephanie has set certain guidelines for herself. First rule? No mixes. “When I get something from a bakery and find out they use mixes, I feel cheated!” If she needs something pre-made, she buys it locally in an effort to support small businesses and the community.
Some things she just tries to avoid. “I’ve sworn off of fondant,” she says of the tricky-to-work-with icing material. To a toddler, it’s the equivalent of an impenetrable force field, as she’s witnessed firsthand. She adds that “cookies are my arch-nemesis,” and somewhere a certain Sesame Street character weeps. Not that her cookies aren’t popular—she just prefers to make cupcakes.
Another weapon in Stephanie’s sugary arsenal is the trendy cake-pop, an addictive, habit-forming substance I’d never heard of. She explained that they’re candy-coated balls of cake and frosting on a stick. What’s not to like? She then decorates them as pirates, flowers, baseballs, or cute animals, which once led to her sifting through two giant bags of assorted Easter candy to find the right colors of pastel candy corn. That’s dedication!
Sugar Whipped Bakery is on a fast track for success, fueled by Stephanie’s abundant enthusiasm. She’s learning the ins and outs of the business, looking for space to set up shop, and regularly creating bold new flavors. “This is really where my heart is,” she says, “and I feel like there’s an audience for it.”
I’m more than inclined to agree.